NEW YORK, NY, May 29, 1996 — (NYSE: AET) United States District Judge Denise Cote, of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, has dismissed a lawsuit against Aetna Health Plans of New York Inc. and its affiliates, by three anesthesiologist groups from Long Island. Judge Cote found that the providers had no legal basis to bring this action, which is little more than an attack on managed health care.
“We applaud this decision, which preserves Aetna’s ability to establish contractual relationships with providers and hospitals,” said Clifford W. Klima, head of Aetna Health Plans’ New York metropolitan market. “This enables us to bring the best value and quality in health care to our members, and derails this attempt by certain providers and their lawyers to undermine managed health care.”
The precedent-setting decision establishes that Aetna has the right under antitrust law to set standards for its providers in its efforts to deliver high-quality, cost-effective health coverage. The dismissed case is one of a number of suits filed by the law firm of Brown & Seymour (now Landy & Seymour) on behalf of physicians seeking to hinder the growth of managed care.
Judge Cote, in her decision, stated, “. . .the plaintiff’s principal target here, which is revealed after undressing [the] plaintiff’s Complaint from its antitrust robes, is the very concept of managed care. The fact that HMOs have their critics does not obligate the courts to create, through some alchemical process of jurisprudence, a novel application of antitrust laws.”
The lawsuit concerned Aetna’s ability to provide comprehensive, hospital-based services to its members through contracted providers, which is critical to promote quality medical care and manage costs. The physician groups who filed the lawsuit refused to agree to elements of Aetna’s standard provider contract, which has been approved by the New York Department of Health.
The original complaint was filed in 1995 by Dr. Christopher Ambroze and the Rockville Anesthesia Group at the Mercy Medical Center, Rockville Center, L.I.; Dr. Harvey Finkelstein and Plainview Anesthesiologists, at North Shore University Hospital, Plainview, L.I.; and Dr. Joseph Singer and Atlantic Anesthesia Associates, at South Nassau Communities Hospital, Oceanside, L.I.
For more information about Aetna Inc., please visit the company’s website at www.aetna.com.